Video Recipe: Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino! Garlic, chilli and olive oil spaghetti

This is the ultimate speedy supper, and one of the reasons I fell in love with the food of Italy as a child.

Good cooking doesn’t necessarily take ages, you can make this dish in 15 mins max. You’re also likely to have everything you need for this in your kitchen cupboards right now. So stop scrolling on Deliveroo and get a pan boiling!

The recipe is at the bottom of the article, and you can also watch the video guide on our Instagram Reel: Click HERE

I’ve got a strong first memory of this pasta - sitting in a village square at a simple trattoria with my family, on a hot summer’s eve at around 10 years old. That village, Sticciano, is short drive from where we live now actually. Having scoffed down a plate of it, and with a face glistening with garlicky olive oil, I asked my mum what was in it. I remember thinking it impossible that something so delicious could involve so few ingredients.

Food experiences like these, as simple as they were, were without doubt what fuelled me to learn as much about this cuisine as possible - it seemed like whatever was going on in those steamy village restaurant kitchens was pure magic. Come to think of it, I still do!


Back to the dish. Garlic, chilli (fresh or dried), good extra virgin olive oil (important), and pasta is all you need for this. In fact, apart from a little chopped parsley, I would urge you to add nothing more!

Long pasta definitely works better too - stick to spaghetti…I’m not sure why, but the dish demands it.

Something this meal relies on is not burning, or even colouring, the garlic. So start the pan on cold, and add the garlic and chilli into cold oil. Then heat it up together; that way the oil has plenty of time to take on the flavours without the garlic over-colouring and turning bitter.

I like to use fresh chilli as it seems to produce something more aromatic, but if you don’t have any in, dried chilli will make a nice plate of pasta too.

Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino! Garlic, Chilli and Olive Oil Spaghetti

Check out the video guide by watching our Instagram Reel - CLICK HERE

Per person:

  • 1 glove garlic, thinly sliced
  • Half a fresh red chilli (depending on spiciness or size, you can alter this to your taste)
  • Around 2tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g dried spaghetti
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional

1 Get your pasta water boiling - allow plenty of water (at least 1 litre per 100g of pasta), and season well (at least 1 tsp salt per litre of water). Once at a rolling boil, add the pasta. You can make the sauce in the same time it takes to cook the pasta.

2 Add the oil, chilli and garlic to a cold pan. Put the pan on a medium heat. The oil will infuse as it heats up. Once up to temperature, fry until the garlic shows the first signs of colouring. Add half a ladle of pasta water from the spaghetti pan. Simmer and swirl the pan until it reduces a little and thickens - this is the oil and water emulsifying to create a creamy mix.

3 Transfer the pasta into the sauce, around 2 mins before you would normally drain it. It needs to finish cooking in the sauce. That way, it absorbs the flavours and gets well coated. Add parsley, if using. Simmer, stir and toss for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and unctuous. If it has dried out too much, add a little more pasta water. Serve!

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